Building Community Through the Arts

Announcing the 2023 Young Writers’ Contest

Spencertown Academy is excited to once again open its annual Young Writers’ Contest to high school students (including homeschoolers) in Columbia County, NY and Berkshire County, MA, grades 9-12. This also includes high school students residing in these counties during the 2023 school year.

Works will be judged in an anonymous process by published authors and publishing professionals, volunteering their services for this contest.


A total of SIX prizes will be awarded, in two writing categories:

  • Fiction: Short Story: Prizes of $250, $150 and $100
  • Nonfiction: Personal Essay or Memoir: Prizes of $250, $150 and $100

Contest Rules

  • Entry submissions will be accepted until midnight, Monday, May 1st.
  • Send entries to: [email protected].
  • One entry per student. Select your own fiction or nonfiction topic. Submissions are limited to a maximum of 2,000 words.
  • All works must be submitted via email attachment, in unlocked document format, such as Word. Locked formats will be returned unread.
  • Work must be formatted in 12-pt type, double spaced, on standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages, with one inch margins.
  • Include a story or essay title on your document, and identify it as ‘Fiction’ or ‘Nonfiction. NO personal identifying info on the document, please.
  • Include your name, address, school and grade, in the body of your email. A phone number is optional, but helpful.

Prizes will be awarded before the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Winners will be invited to read their stories at our Festival of Books, Labor Day weekend.

Read 2022’s Winning Entries

Enjoy reading these impressive works by six talented teenagers.

First Place: Taibat Ahmed, 11th Grade, Taconic High School, They’re Only Made of Moonlight
Second Place: Jin Fernbacher, 11th Grade, Berkshire Waldorf School, Last Warning
Third Place: Amanda Gutierrez, 11th Grade, Germantown Central School, Amelie Gonzales

Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir

First Place: Rafia Tasmin, 12th Grade, Hudson High School, My Ammu
Second Place: Arianna Camacho, 12th Grade, Hudson High School, The White-Hispanic Experience
Third Place: Shea Neumann, 10th Grade, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, A Traveler’s Heart

NYSCA logo
Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 
Hawthorne Valley Association logo
This program is generously supported by Hawthorne Valley.

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